This album was continually, and is still, mislabeled as "death metal." While Steve Rowe's vocals style may be of the death variety, the music is pure, unadulterated thrash metal. It reminds me a bit of Kreator or even Destruction. It is pretty obvious that these guys were heavily influenced by the thriving thrash scene in the early 90's. In anycase, the music had hooks and the drum playing was some of the best around. The lyrics, written mostly by Jayson and Steve, were bold Christianity, which may have turned off some listeners. This album was released with two different covers; one for the Christian stores, which featured only the logo with the two sculls, and a secular cover that featured souls being cast into the lake of fire. Both covers were drawn by drummer Jayson Sherlock. (Yes, I own both covers.) Actually, it is the "Christian" cover that is more the collector's item. Most of these songs, especially "Brutal Warfare" are still concert favorites. The only real weak point in this disc is the production, which is a bit thin compared to what was to come. This is a must for any fan of thrash metal or early death metal. Also a must for any true Mortification fan.
This disc, along with the next three were re-released in double discs sets by KMG. The re-releases, however, are all quite poor. The cover artwork is cheap, none of the original liner notes were included, and even the mastering is poor. However, in 2007 Soundmass in Australia remastered and re-released this album with a slick digi cover and 8-page booklet. There are no bonus tracks added, but this release is well worth picking up if you don't own the original or if you want the improved sound quality. Unfortunately this is a limited, numbered edition release of only 1,000 copies. Get 'em before they are gone.
"Scrolls of the Megilloth" is the album that is hailed by many as Mortification's best effort. It is generally upheld as a classic in the death metal genre, and most certainly in the Christian metal sub-genre. I certainly do not disagree that it was a very popular and important album in it's influence. Many modern Christian metal bands were inspired by this album, some even using the song titles as a name for their band. This disc, unlike the self titled, is pure, unadulterated death metal. The blast beats abound! Heavy, downtuned, fast, chaotic, technical...it's just an all over good release.
Mortification - Post Momentary Affliction (Intense/Nuclear Blast) 1993
Next to EnVision EvAngeline, this would be my favorite Mortification disc. What we have here is a return to the thrash roots from the first album, but with more finesse. The influences of Iron Maiden and especially Manowar are showing through much more than in the past. This is just a great speed metal/thrash feast. This album was also the introduction of the new vocals style. The deathly growl still present, but mixed with a clean, doomy shout that would begin to become more prevelant in future discs. The lyrics are mature, Christ centered, and intelligent. I guess the return to thrash was not what Jayson Sherlock wanted, as soon after the release of P.M.A., he announced his departure to play with doom/death band Paramęcium. A shame, really, as the drum work on this cd is phenomenal! Some of the best drumming in metal. Period!
The Intense cover was drawn by drummer Jayson Sherlock. (Yes, I own both covers.) This album would be the final studio disc of what many would consider the classic Mortification line-up.
Ah yes, a live album from our favorite Australian imports. Good recording, wild crowd from the Blackstump Festival and a good selection of tunes from the first three discs. Two new songs that we were told would be on the next studio album, however, only "Symbiosis" ever made it onto any official Mortification release. The studio verison of "Time Crusader" would only see light of day on the very obscure Australia Metal 1 compilation. Probably a wise decision as this live version was beefy and could not be beat! Actually one of the best songs on the disc. A botched, speedy version of Bloodgood's "Black Snake." It contains the worst guitar solo ever recorded. Micheal Carlisle never claiming to be much of a lead player, proves it with this solo. The production isn't bad for a live offering. Probably not the disc you want to get if you are new to Mortification, but a must for fans. "Live Planetarium" is one of the discs on my top favorite live discs.
With a new drummer, a new producer, and a new logo comes a new sound. Many cried "sellout." Some said they went "hardcore." This, of course, was not even slightly true. The death metal sound was gone but the thrash sound was now completely in place. "Blood World" is not my favorite disc either, but it has some great songs. Some are Mortification classics, while others were just not of the calibur of past albums. However, this was actually the best selling Mortification disc of their entire catalogue, especially in the U.S..
Nuclear Blast & Intense put out very similar covers. The big difference actually being in the inside and back cover photos. The change was actually part of what fueled the "sellout" fire. On the Intense version, the classic Mortification logo was gone and replaced with a new logo that featured three swords in place of the crosses. The Nuclear Blast cover, which was released after the Intense version, had the classic logo back in place, although moved into the right corner. (Yes, I own both covers.) Blood World is a disc for thrash fans and a must for Mortification fans but is probably not the disc to use to introduce the band to a new listener.
In 2008 Metal Mind re-released almost all the Mortification catalog. All featured bonus tracks, but most of them were not really exclusive. However, "Blood World" features the excellent studio track "Entering the Eternal Dawn". This track was recorded with the Blood World line-up and originally released on a Nuclear Blast compilation."Altar of God" is from the 2002 independent release titled "Relentless". I'm not sure why this particular track was chosen as a bonus for this CD unless it was specifically chose to promote "Relentless". The live tracks were previously released on the "Live Without Fear" EP.
Mortification - Primitive Rhythm Machine (Intense) 1995
Steve Rowe, the Lone Ranger. The only original member who trudges on in his metal crusade. Together with his "Blood World Tour" touring band and George Ochoa (ex-Deliverance/Recon) put out this thrash disc in a bit of a hurry. The production is a bit raw, or "primitive," if I might say so. Lots of tribal beats, and a sort of Sepultura-vibe. Favorite tunes "Gut Wrench" and "Mephibosheth," the latter still in the bands live set as of 1999."Providence" also features a short guest vocal section by ex-Recon vocalist Vett Roberts. Lyrics are very evangelistic in nature. A great disc that would sit well in any metal collection.
Ultimatum recorded a cover of "Gut Wrench" on their "Lex Metalis" CD.
Mortification - The Best of Five Years (Intense) 1996
This one boasted two unreleased tracks ("Blood Sacrifice" & "New Beginnings"), but both of these tracks had been released on the "Break the Curse 1990" cd that Nuclear Blast had put out a few years earlier. I guess it was only available as an import, but I was bummed that this "best of " compilation didn't include at least the hard to find studio version of "Time Crusaders." At least the cover featured some cool photos and a discography. The songs are laid out in chronological order as well, which is kind of cool, as you can hear how Mortification changed over the years.
Forgot to mention that the studio version of "Time Crusaders" is available on Rowe's Godspeed Australian Metal Compilation. I think this is the only place, other than on MP3 format, that this song is available.
Well, once again, with new band members comes a new sound. New indeed! This being my favorite Morty offering to date, I like the changes that were made. Steve Rowe now fully implementing his love for "true metal." Gone now were all traces of Mortification's death metal past, and back was Steve's initial vision of a classic metal/thrash band. The epic "EnVision EvAngeline," inspired by the likes of Iron Maiden 's epic numbers and especially Manowar's "Achilles, Agony and Ecstacy in Eight Parts," clocked in at over eighteen minutes. Galloping bass, killer guitar riffs and some of the best solos any Mortification guitarist has put forth thus far. This song alone would be worth the price of the disc, but wait...there are seven more delightful metal mosels to get you banging you head. "Noah was a Knower" is a speedy thrash song that uses a bit of humor to tell the story of Noah's obedience towards God. "Northern Storm" is one of the greatest songs Mortification has ever written. Incredible guitar riff! "Buried into Obscurity" is a cool groove metal number written by new drummer Keith Bannister.
The drum work is simplistic throughout the disc but well executed. This is actually the first band Keith had ever recorded with. At the time of the recording he had only been playing less than a year. Formerly he was a Mortification rodie for Australian tours.
The disc was released by three different companies, and with that there is slight differences in the artwork. In the U.S. Diamante released the disc with a plain black imprint on the cd and a bad moray in the cover art. The best copies are the Australian and German copies, released by Rowe Productions and Nuclear Blast respectively, with the gold and black ink print on the cd and far superior printing on the cover.
This is an incredible release that would fit well in any metal collection.
Metal, the way it was meant to be recorded, LIVE and RAW! Seriously, this is a live club recording-a few hundred screaming fans and a raw sound. Live recording by Phil Lake at "The Voice" nightclub, Feb. 3, 1996 on the "EnVision EvAngeline" Austalian tour that was titled, appropriately, "Live Without Fear Tour." Unlike the "Live Planetarium" disc, which had a big production at a large festival with big crowds, these two discs are more akin to what you would hear, should you attend a Mortification show. A nice array of songs from each album are present as well as some humor a la Steve Rowe. The NOAH cover art is done by former drummer Jayson Sherlock. Quite the title too, huh? If I could only have one of these, however, it would be the "Live Without Fear" disc as it is longer and has a better variety of songs. Both are cool discs for collector's of all things Mortification.
Mortificiation - Triumph of Mercy (Metal Blade/Rowe Productions) 1998
Well, after almost losing Steve Rowe to Leukemia only a few short months earlier, I get a call from Steve telling me how excited he is about the new disc and U.S. Tour. REAL soon after I hear a three song demo of songs Steve wrote from his hospital bed. Hmmm...for a man who was suppose to die several times and was told he would never walk, see, or play bass again, this demo sure sounded good. God did work a miracle in Steve as he was completely healed of this deadly disease. A good majority of the disc is about what Steve had gone through over the past year and a half. Musically, this disc was a slight return to the death metal past, but only slightly. Actually this disc is more akin to EnVision, which if you have read my review on EnVision, you know I like. This disc again continues with the classic metal influences and the thrash overtones. Once again we have a lengthy number, although not as lengthy as EnVision, in the titled track "Triumph of Mercy." The song is a detailed story of Steve's fight with his infirmity and the ultimate victory he had in trusting God. Other songs like "Drain Dweller," echo the snappy thrash songs off EnVision. Actually, if it hadn't been for the lyrics, I would never have known there was a two year gap between albums. "Influence" has some of the most convicting lyrics by any Christian band and is a great metal song. This song is probably one of my all time favorite Mortification songs. The downfall to this disc is that the production suffers a bit compared to the clean sound of EnVision. In an attempt to sound more raw, the production is a bit weaker. The bass is way out front and the guitars a bit buried. The drums as well are just not as crisp as on EnVision EvAngeline. This aside, however, this is a much recommended disc.
Mortification - Hammer of God (Metal Blade/Rowe Productions) 1999
Hammer of God comes out just short of a year after the release of "Triumph of Mercy." Once again, Mortification have gone for a classic metal sound, mixing in influences of thrash and only a small portion of death metal. All the vocals this time around are clear. The guitar tones are far better than any Morty disc from the past, however, Steve's signature bass sound is no longer present. Both the bass guitar and the bass drum are very buried in the guitar heavy mix. The first two cuts, "Metal Crusade" and "Martyrs" are two of the finest and most aggressive songs Mortification have written. Also included on this disc are the demo tracks from the "Triumph of Mercy" sessions as well as a medley of older material simply titled "Medley." This song is made up of "Lymphosarcoma" from Scrolls, "The Destroyer Beholds" from Mortification, "Distarnished Priest" from Post Momentary Affliction and "Love Song" from Blood World. Actually this is the same medley that the band played on their "Triumph of Mercy World Tour." "God Rulz" is an updated version of "The Majestic Infiltration of Order" from the self titled disc. Steve's son makes his vocal debut at the end of this song. A first for Mortification on this album is the use of a piano throughout the disc. Songs like"A Pearl" become beautiful metal songs due to the use of the piano. "D.W.A.M" or "Daniel was a Mosher," is a whimsical take-off of the "Noah was a Knower" track from EnVision EvAngeline. Short song cloking in at only 1.59. Overall, not the best Mortification disc, but a good one none-the-less. The first two tracks and the medley alone are worth the price of admission.
Mortification - 10 Years Live Not Dead (Metal Blade/Rowe Productions) 1999
Man Walking" (4:13)
Produced and Engineered by: Mark McCormick
Live album number two, or four if you count the two eps. This album features mostly material from the last three albums and the medley that was released on "Hammer of God." There is one new song as well, ("Dead Man Walking") which sounds like it may have been left over from the "Hammer of God" sessions as the lyrics are once again about Steve's bout with sickness. "King of Kings," is a bit deceiving as it looks to be another new song, but is only a short section of Steve screaming "Jesus, Jesus" from the stage. This will be the last album for Keith Bannister as well.
Mortification - The Silver Chord is Severed (Rowe Productions) 2001
With the news of a new drummer who is much younger than the rest of the band, rumors were flying that Mortification were going to go into a more "modern" direction. (i.e. hardcore/metalcore) Well, I am happy to say that this was just not true. Steve Rowe and his league of cohorts are still flying the flag of heavy metal. With no disrespect intended to Keith at all, I have to say that new drummer Adam Zaffarese (say that three time fast!) kicks butt! There are a few songs that have a hint of hardcore attitude to them, especially the Lincoln Bowen penned song "Access Denied." Steve seems to be incorporating some of his older, growlier vocals in the new album, which I think is a great idea. Overall, however, "Silver Chord" is not as solid an album as I would have liked. Whereas most Mortification CDs dominate my CD player for weeks after they are released, I found myself bored with this one rather quickly. Honestly, it's really hard for me to say anything negative about a band I have have been a fan of for so long and have so much respect for, but I really think with each album after "EnVision," the songwriting has become simpler and the hooks are less apparent. However, even with albums like "Hammer of God," I could pull out several standout tracks. With this one I cannot really say that with the exception of opening track "Metal Blessing". I also think this is the band's weakest album cover art. This would be the last CD Mortification would release on Nuclear Blast Germany.
I should also mention that there is a double disc version with "10 Years Live Not Dead" was released in Germany only. The US version is a single disc.
Mortification - Power, Pain & Passion-Ten Years 1990 - 2000 (Rowe) 2002
I could probably debate with a handful of Mortification fans for hours on the necessity (or lack thereof) of releasing yet another Mortification compilation cd. Apparently, with the exit of guitarist Lincoln Bowen and Mortification parting ways with both Nuclear Blast Germany and Metal Blade USA, Steve was about ready to hang up the 'ol Mortification banner and go on with other things. "Power, Passion & Pain" was to be the final goodbye. However, God had other plans for Mortification, and the band will go on with yet another new guitarist, releasing this and future albums on Steve's own label, Rowe Productions. I am also sure that we could debate and complain forever about songs we feel should or shouldn't be on this compilation. As it stand, Steve saw fit to include one song from each album, including both live albums and one of the two live EPs that were released several years ago. Of course with such a large catalogue of material there are songs I most certainly feel should have been on here that are not. I actually would have liked to have seen "Northern Storm," "Influence" and "Metal Crusade" on this disc. Of the later day Mortification songs, these are some of my favorites. Of the early years, I would have liked to have seen "Terminate Damnation," "Nocturnal," and "Distarnished Priest." Regardless if everyone's favorites are included or not, this is still a fairly good overview of the band's catalogue. I do have a complaint though. (You didn't think I wouldn't complain about something, now did you?) Why not include some more rarities like the incredibly rare "Butchered Mutilation," the studio version of "Time Crusaders" or the incredibly rare "Entering the Eternal Dawn". "Time Crusaders" and "Entering the Eternal Dawn" both have only seen the light of day on some very obscure compilations. There are four acoustic tracks included as a bonus affectionately called "Acoustic Blessing." These four tracks are amusing, and almost humorous. Death and thrash metal just don't translate well to acoustic guitars. The better of the four tracks are the two newer tracks, "Metal Blessing" and "Standing at the Door of Death." These two tracks work ok in this setting. The other two, well, as I said, death metal doesn't translate well on an acoustic guitar. It's also impossible to translate those brutal vocals to something more soft.
I have been a Mortification fan since 1990, and frankly I was a fan of Lightforce before that. I have anxiously waited for each new release from Steve Rowe and Co. and for the most part have been quite happy. I am not one who has wanted the band to return to their death metal style of "Scrolls" However, I must admit I was disappointed with "Silver Chord" and I was a bit leary about what the new disc would hold with the rumor that Steve Rowe was putting the Mortification name to rest and then the news that Mortification had gone through yet another line-up change. Well thanks to the technology of MP3 I was able to check out a couple of tracks before buying and was pleasantly surprised. It seems two new guitarists have brought new life into this old metal machine. While I would not be so bold as to say that I think this is the band's finest work, I would say that it is their best work since 'EnVision EvAngeline' which is my personal favorite Morty disc. For the most part the guitar work shreds and the rhythm section just annihilates. Musically, Mortification are a hybrid mix of thrash, power and speed metal, all of which are right up my alley. There is even a doom song called 'Sorrow' and a song that borders death metal called 'Apocalyptic Terror.' Several songs have the feel of early 90's Mortification, although the lack of down tuned guitars and the absence of the heavy vocal effects makes even the blastbeats in "Bring Release" sound more like the newer Mortification. On the downside, there are a few songs that have overly repetitive choruses. "The Other Side Of The Coin" in particular made me think the cd was skipping like an old record the first time I heard it. "Altar Of God" in like manner has a chorus that would have been better had the words been varied a bit. Otherwise, I can't say enough good things about this disc. "Web of Fire", "God Shape Void", "Bring Release" and "Apocalyptic Terror" are all some of the band's best material ever.
"Relentless" was re-issued in 2013 by Australian independent label Soundmass. The re-issue contains four live tracks taken from the band's performance at Christmas Rock Night in Germany, 2002. The sound quality of these live tracks isn't bad, though are obviously not of the same quality as the studio tracks. Still, a nice addition to the re-issue. The re-issue also includes an 8-page booklet and a 2-sided card for the front cover art. Of the three simultaneously released Mortification albums, this was the only one to include the additional card.
"Brain Cleaner" marks the band's twelth studio release, if you count "Break the Curse". That album marks another line-up change for 'ol Mortification, but one that seems to have sparked a fire under Steve. This is an excellent CD! Musically Steve brings in elements of all the bands past albums with a big dose of "Post Momentary Affliction"-era death/thrash. As well, there is some classic heavy metal influences. "12 Men" in particular is a song Steve wrote back in the Lightforce days.
"Brain Cleaner" was re-released in 2013 by Australian independent label Soundmass. The re-issue contains several live tracks taken from the band's performance at Revolution Metal Fest in Mexico City, 2004. This was the infamous show that stirred up a lot of controversy due to headlining band Stryper backing out and not returning the promoter's deposit money. The sound quality on these tracks are of bootleg quality at best. which is unfortunate as the band is charged up in front of this large crowd. The track titled "Spoken Word" is Steve Rowe's stage banter, complete with Spanish interpreter. Unfortunately part of Steve's banter was hacked off. I'm not sure if it was recorded this way or if it was just bad editing.
....and Steve Rowe's metal machine keeps rolling along! All I can say about the newest Mortification release is that this is what the fans have been asking for. Is it a return to "Scrolls"? No, "Erasing the Goblin" is it's own monster. However, it is the fastest, heaviest CD from this band in over a decade. Steve's vocal approach returns to the deeper growls as heard on the band's first self-titled album, as well as those thrashier vocals on "Break the Curse." The CD starts off with one of the band's best songs ever in "Razorback". This is old school death/thrash. The very next song follows up with a mixture of old and newer Mortification, that is equally as pummelling. "Escape the Blasphemous Tabernacle" has tinges of doom metal reminding me slightly of some of the doomier material on the band's early releases. Without going into a track by track review, let me just say that this is clearly one of the strongest Mortification releases in a long time. The only track I really found to be weak is ""Forged In Stone". This song starts off with Steve belching out the song title. This seems to have become one of Steve's trademarks. Otherwise, the mix is good, the guitars are dirty and gnarly, Steve's vocals sound great, the songwriting is strong, the lyrics are spiritual. What else do you need to know? Long live Jesus Metal! Long Live Mortification!
The cover pictured above to the left is the limited edition release. (Mine is #15/500.) This Rowe Productions release was only available retail through the Soundmass.com store as a pre-order. There were 500 copies pressed. Each copy is hand numbered, signed by each band member and contains the exclusive track "Dead Man Walking". This track was previously recorded on the band's "10 Years Live Not Dead" live CD. The version contained herein is the first studio recording of this song and is not included on the MCM Music release. The MCM version features the cover pictured to the right and has the song "Servants of the Supreme Message" in place of "Dead Man Walking". Of course, being the Mortification collector I am, I eventually had to track down both versions. (Thanks to Vartan for the MCM version).
2013 saw the re-release of "Erasing the Goblin" on Soundmass. The re-issue marks the third cover this album has had. Initially release independently on Rowe Productions, the album featured ten songs with song number ten being "Dead Man Walking". Later the album was issued on MCM Records with ten songs and "Servant of the Supreme Message" replacing "Dead Man Walking". This re-issue includes both tracks for a total of eleven album tracks. The re-issue also included eight live songs and a track titled "Spoken Word", which is stage banter from Steve Rowe. The live tracks were recorded a Nordic Fest, 2007.
The Australian metal machine rolls into 2007 with a new live album. "Live Humanitarian" captures Steve Rowe and crew in Perth, Australia at the Imax Theater in front of a crowd of hungry metal maniacs. The song list here is mostly from newer Mortification releases. Those looking for death metal need to look elsewhere. Mort have managed to capture that live energy with new songs such as "Erasing the Goblin", "I'm Not Your Commodity" and "Purest Intent". Unfortunately, there is not much in the way of old material, other than the medley which is exactly the same as it appears on the bands 1999 release "10 Years Live Not Dead" and also as a bonus studio track on the Metal Blade version of "Hammer of God". Likewise, "Dead Man Walking", "Chapel of Hope" and "Hammer of God" were also on the 1999 live recording. It's a shame that Steve didn't drag out either some older cuts like "Nocturnal" or perhaps more newer songs such as "Razorback", "Boaconstrictor", "Metal Blessing", "Access Denied" or "Web of Fire". As it stands, only six of the eleven songs haven't been previously released on a live platter. The sound quality is quite good for a live recording. Steve's in-between song banter is honest and cool to hear. Hearing him talk candidly of his many encounters with near death and how he was told he had only days to live over ten years ago is quite the testimony to his faith and his will to live. Having seen Mortification live several times over the years, this album sounds like a good representation of the band. Of course it is essential for the Mortification fanatic such as myself.
I almost always anxiously await any new Mortification release. While many fans still scream for Scrolls Part II, I've found much to like about Mortification over the years. With the akwardly titled "The Evil Addiction Destroying Machine", Mortification 14th studio album, the band breaks the pattern of their last three platters. Whereas those released incorporated some of the death metal sounds of early years, this release is more mid-paced and groove oriented. Not that Mortification sounds like Pantera or are trying to follow some trend, but rather, this sounds more like albums like "Silver Chord is Severed" and some of the material on "EnVision EvAngeline" and "Triumph of Mercy". The band also has incorporated a slight punk influence into this album. I'm not so sure this influence isn't more in the delivery than in the song writing itself. Unlike past albums, this album seems to feature only songs written by Steve Rowe. Past albums have always been more of a collaboration with songs written by all the members, even if Steve's did have more tracks than the others.
With "The Evil Addiction..." Mortification has once again had a line-up change. Returning to the fold is drummer Adam Zaffarese, who has most certainly improved as a studio drummer since his time with Mortification back in 2001. Also returning to the fold is guitarist Mick Jelinic who lets fly with some screaming leads. I'd be interested to hear how Mortification circa 1989 would have sounded with a guy like Mick Jelinic as lead guitarist.
I've read some complaints on-line about the vocals on this album. Steve's style is Steve's style. He doesn't do any of the studio enhanced death growls this time around, nor does he offer the variety that was heard on the last few Mortification release. He pretty much sticks to his gravely, punk-influenced, shouted delivery that he started using on "Post Momentary Affliction" in 1993. Steve's bass is ever present here. With a bass player writing the majority of the material, the bass is, of course, prominently featured in every song with several songs starting with the bass.
The big question is, was I let down this time around by Steve and company? Absolutely not. As with the past three or so studio releases, I found myself returning to this one time and time again. I actually can't understand why any fan of Mortification's material since 1996 wouldn't find something to enjoy here. Favorite tracks include the title track, the speedy "Pilots Hanging" and the thrash metal based, "I'm Not Confused" with it's repetitious, shout along chorus. The last track is a tribute to Rez, although it is not a cover song. Rather it is a new song written by Mortification as a tribute to the classic Christian rock/metal band. Steve cites Rez Band as being one of the reasons he became a Christian back in the early 80's.
The initial release will be a Limited Edition Deluxe DigiPak that includes the names of the first people to pre-order the disc. Mortification calls these people "Mortification Im-Mort-Alized Supporters". Once again, artwork is by Troy Dunmire who has painted most of Mortification's covers since "Primitive Rhythm Machine" (1995).
Lightforce were an Australian heavy metal band from the 1980’s. Their sound was often compared to bands like Iron Maiden and Manowar. In 1989, Steve Rowe of Lightforce decided to take the band into a more thrash metal direction. In 1990 the band independently recorded and released "Break the Curse" on cassette tape. They soon after changed their name to Mortification and began recording their self-titled album for Intense Records. A year later the band signed with German label Nuclear Blast Records and released their popular albums "Scrolls of the Megilloth" and "Post Momentary Affliction". It was shortly after these two albums were released that Nuclear Blast released "Break the Curse 1990" on CD for the first time with the bonus track "Butchered Mutilation" from Nuclear Blast's "Death is Just the Beginning" compilation. Twenty years later and American label Roxx Productions has released "Break the Curse 1990 – 2010 (20th Anniversary Gold Edition)".
I am a Mortification fanatic and have been for many, many years. I was excited to able to be a part of the 20th Anniversary release for Roxx. Unfortunately Roxx is a very small label with limited resources, but they did a great job with the "Break the Curse 1990 – 2010: 20th Anniversary Gold Edition". This "Twenty Years In The Underground" CD released by Nuclear Blast was released at the same time as the Roxx release. Nuclear Blast are a big label with international distribution. As such, I had high expectations for this release. Unfortunately my expectations weren’t met.
I actually expected something a little better for this "20 Year Celebration" CD from Nuclear Blast. After all, this is NUCLEAR BLAST, one of the biggest metal labels in the world. First of all, the 28 page booklet is full of mistakes and typos. No one edited or spell checked Steve's liner notes. There are some very obvious typos throughout the booklet that should have been fixed. Spell check on any layout program would have fixed the majority of them. As well, the band member listings are incorrect for some albums and completely missing on others. The CDs themselves are interesting for a Mortification fan, but not something most people will spend most time listening to. On the positive side, however, the booklet is chock full of old photos of the band and I did enjoy reading Steve's lengthy liner notes. The liner notes give some insight into why certain songs and shows were chosen for this disc, as well as a bit of history about the band starting from the demise of Lightforce.
The music on this 2-CD set was also a slight disappointment. I actually enjoyed the first five tracks, which are all re-recorded tracks from the Mortification catalog. "Nocturnal" and "Grind Planetarium" have a more thrash metal sound than they did on those older releases. The tuning sounds different and Steve’s vocals, while raw and gutteral, aren’t as deep and death metal sounding. On the other hand, "Hammer of God" seems a bit more brutal here and Steve’s vocals are more brutal than on the original recording. I could have lived without yet another version of "The Majestic Infiltration Of Order". Between the demo versions, the original version, the re-recorded versions and the live versions I probably have ten or more different versions. It might have been cool to have heard new versions of some of those old Lightforce songs that Mortification played early on such as "Eyes of Destruction" or "City Streets". As it stands, I still enjoyed these newly recorded classics. They are the highlight of this two CD set.
The live material on disc one is RAW. Much of this stuff is bootleg quality at best. While it was cool to hear those old Lightforce songs with a Mortification’s thrash metal twist, the sound quality leaves a bit to be desired. These same songs are on the DVD of the Roxx release and I don’t recall them sounding this poor. Being that the material for the rest of the CD is taken from different time periods and from different sources, the sound quality really changes from song to song, though someone did a decent job of at least making sure the sound levels were equal from song to song.
Disc two is basically the four acoustic tracks originally released in 2002 on the "Power, Pain & Passion CD" as well as the 1993 live album "Live Planetarium". Of course the "Live Planetarium" tracks are outstanding. One song from that album was left off of this collection, the cover of Bloodgood’s "Black Snake". According to the line notes many people were asking for a reissue of that live album, so this is it. The sound quality isn’t noticeably different from the original release on Intense Records, so I don’t think there was much done in mastering to this album.
Overall, this is a collection for die-hard Mortification fans. Being a Mortification collector, I am more than happy to have another collection of Mort songs. I just wish that more time would have been spent proofreading the insert booklet.
In 2013 Soundmass re-issued "Scribe of the Pentateuch" with completely new artwork. The Soundmass version also contains 8 bonus tracks recorded live at EasterFest 2013. The live tracks are raw and have a bootleg-like quality. Of course Mortification fans like myself eat this sort of stuff up, but these tracks probably won't appeal to the casual fan.